The kings of English football - now Portsmouth are leaving Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Europe's elite in their wake

They remain unsurpassed in English football.

By Jordan Cross
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 5:00 pm

It may not be translating into goals at this moment after three successive blanks, but no other side are applying more pressure on the ball as they go about their work.

That status as the high-pressing kings of English football is shared with Premier League outfit Leeds - who had drawn widespread plaudits for their approach under Marcelo Bielsa, before his recent departure.

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A metric called passes per defensive action (PPDA) is used to garner which sides press the ball hardest.

This is calculated by dividing the number of passes by the opposition by their defensive actions - the lower the number, the more a side are being proactive in winning the ball back.

And stats expert the The Analyst, who has compiled the list, has confirmed it’s Pompey and Leeds currently leading the way in England’s top four divisions, with a PPDA of 9.5.

That’s ahead of the likes of Manchester City (9.8), Liverpool (10) and Chelsea (10.4).

Pompey boss Danny Cowley urging his team, who are one of Europe's hardest-pressing teams, on.

The other sides who rate highly on these shores are Rotherham (10), Forest Green Rovers (10.2), Mansfield (10.7) and Bournemouth (10.8).

It’s when opening the field up to the rest of Europe the intensity of Cowley’s approach impresses even further.

Because factoring in Europe’s major leagues, just four outfits surpass Pompey.

European giants Barcelona have the best PPDA across the continent (8.8).

Three other sides are able to better Pompey’s PPDA - by not much.

Italians Torino, Germans Cologne and Spain’s Celta Vigo (all 9.2) marginally beat the Blues’ figure.

That means, when it comes to the relentless pressing, the likes of European powerhouses Bayern Munich (10.2), AC Milan (10.2) and Real Madrid (12.1) are all being left in the shade by Pompey!

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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